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Pros and Cons of Shared Decision Making

written by: johnsinit • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 11/29/2010

Shared decision making or SDM is a term used to describe the involvement of two people in making a decision. The shared decision making is quite helpful for making a decision by the consensus between two persons. This method of decision making, of course, has its own advantages and disadvantages.

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    Nowadays, many organizations use the technique of shared decision making as it has been proved very successful. People prefer to involve at least two persons and usually listen to other people’s advice before making any decision. The term shared decision making was introduced in the 1970’s as a medical term in which the clinicians and the patient sort out the best way of the treatment by sharing their thoughts on the matter. Since then, the term has gone wide in its meaning and now includes different aspects. Of course, shared decision making has its own pros and cons. Actually, the technique has been in use since the ancient times - utilized to solve many arising problems. Whether it be a doctor's consilium or a project manager's plan, the shared decision making technique, in contrast to the authoritative decision making style, is regarded as easily applicable and quite successful.

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    The biggest plus point of the SDM is that the person that has to make the decision can see the matter from all the angles. If the Team Decision problem has some kind of emotional stress on the person then, shared decision making is the best option. It is a known fact that the mind does not work completely fine under duress or stressful situations. In these times, decision making by counseling from others is the best choice as they can think, view and advise better than oneself.

    In the case of business or project management this technique is quite useful and practiced widely. In management the person can use this technique to get the best possible decision on the problem, consulting several specialists while making a shared decision. Even if the decision is looking quite bad in the short term, one can use the shared decision making to its rescue. Another major benefit of this technique is that a person can know more various solutions of the problem. If the project manager trained in soft skills has not been able to reach to a good conclusion then, maybe others with different skills can give some useful ideas. A business professional can launch a new product or can market the existing one more efficiently by consultation so as to know the public demand and the expectations. As a result, a better marketing campaign or a better product can be manufactured. Even in making television advertisements various factors are kept in view and consultation is the best option.

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    ... and Cons

    Apart from the various advantages, the shared decision making has its own flaws too. However, these are quite few in number. One big Water Ring disadvantage is that adoption of the wrong advice can get all the business and investment at risk. This is a serious consequence of the shared decision making. Apart from this, an individual problem with this technique is that the person may be confused by the large number of advices and may choose wrongly from seemingly limitless options. Also, as the responsibility is divided, some aspects can be lost "in-between" people.

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    References and Image Credits